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Final Wage Payment Requirements by State

Author: Alice Gilman

State wage payment laws govern when an employer must pay final wages to an employee who has separated from employment. Some state laws make a distinction between when an employer must pay an employee who has been fired (involuntary separation) and an employee who quits (voluntary separation).

State wage payment laws also dictate whether an employer must pay a separated employee the value of any accrued but unused time, such as vacation time or paid sick leave, or whether the employee forfeits the value of this time.

The following chart summarizes each state's requirements on when to pay final wages to an employee who has separated from employment, how to treat any accrued but unused time and the penalties that apply if an employer fails to comply with these requirements. A notation of "N/A" means there is no law on the issue in the state.

For information on whether a state allows caps on vacation/PTO (paid time off) accrual and allows use-it-or-lose-it policies, see Vacation and Paid Time Off Benefits by State.